Saturday, March 31, 2018

Rosie Makes Hoe Cakes.

 Hoe cakes.
It's what's for breakfast.

 Hoe cakes are basically pancakes made with cornmeal.
I'm having them for breakfast, 
topped with unsalted Plugra butter (the Best butter)
and some pure maple syrup.
They were delightful.

However, they can also be used as savory cakes.
These would be excellent alongside a pot roast,
soaking up the gravy.
(Rosie's always thinking ahead to the next meal!)

 Rosie's Hoe Cakes
 1 cup self rising flour
 1 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TB sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
2 TB vegetable oil
2 TB unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients except oil and butter.
Mix until batter is smooth.
Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Ladle about 3 tablespoons or so of mixture at a time into hot oil.
Lightly brown on first side
(Cakes will puff up.),
then turn and brown the other side.

Serve with butter and pure maple syrup.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Hawthornes Attend Another Seafood Series Class At The Aquarium. Blue Water Grill And Raw Bar.

If you've been keeping up with me,
then you'll know that this season is all about lionfish.
Lionfish is not something you're going to find
at your local fishmonger's.
All the lionfish we ate was procured
by the NC Aquarium dive team.
This is all part of an effort
to diminish the rapidly increasing numbers
of the invasive lionfish in our Atlantic waters
and to introduce this species to both chefs and consumers.

You can see earlier preparations here:
Back in November, Chef Andy Montero
And in March, Chefs Johanna and Justine Lachine
of Café Lachine in Nags Head
did their spin on lionfish.

You can click on the lionfish links above to learn
more about lionfish.

 Chefs Drew Thompson and Tim Gard
of Blue Water Grill and Raw Bar,
were our presenters at this session and
we dined on lionfish and 4 different preparations of oysters.
And you KNOW Rosie LOVES her oysters!

 Lionfish is white and flaky
and can be prepared as you would flounder or grouper.
 The chefs today simply pan-fried the fillets
and served them on a bed of rice noodles
tossed with slaw and an Asian-inspired dressing
and topped with a coconut lime sauce

For the noodle salad dressing:
1 cup soy sauce
 sesame oil
juice of 4 limes
3 TB sesame seeds

Mix all together and toss with noodles and slaw.
The slaw was composed of shredded red and green cabbage,
carrots, and red onion.

Now, I didn't put an amount on the sesame oil
in the above dressing recipe,
the reason being that on our recipe sheets
they printed "1 CUP sesame oil."
I'm thinking that is a typo,
because it sounds like a whole lot of sesame oil.
I might go with a few teaspoons of sesame oil.
Start there, taste test, and increase as needed.
But a cup???  I don't think so.
I didn't notice it at the time,
else I would have asked the chefs.

The lionfish was lightly seasoned and pan-fried,
set atop the bed of noodles and slaw,
and then topped with a Coconut Lime Sauce.

Coconut Lime Sauce
 1 15-oz. can coconut milk
1 cup sour cream
juice of 6 limes
salt and pepper to taste
3 sliced green onions

On to the oysters.

I was in heaven today,
since Chefs Tim and Drew presented us with four
oyster preparations.

Our chefs are shuckin'!

Our first oysters were dressed with a mignonette,
which is basically a sauce or condiment made with shallots,
cracked pepper, and vinegar.

1 red onion, small dice or 2 shallots, diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1 TB sugar
2 big spoons fresh chopped parsley
s&p to taste
And give it a squeeze of lemon juice on top.

Pineapple Salsa with Tobiko Caviar
1 whole pineapple, small dice
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 tomato, small dice
10 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper
juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TB sugar
2 TB oil s&p to taste
Top with Tobiko.

I'm not a big fan of caviar.
Tastes like fish eggs to me...
BUT, this particular caviar wasn't bad at all.
In fact, I liked it.
It is Tobiko - flying fish roe.
And it's really pretty!

On to the Oysters Rockefeller.
As I've said before,
nobody knows the original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller
except someone at Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans,
(and they ain't tellin')
but everybody makes their own riffs on this dish.
However you make it, it's good.

Oysters Rockefeller
1/2 red onion, small dice
10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup bacon, chopped
4 oz. sambuca or pernod liqueur
1/4 cup cream
12 cups spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
s&p to taste


Our fourth and last oyster dish.
New Orleans Garlic Butter
4 oz. beer
1 pound butter
20 cloveds chopped garlic
4 TB parsley
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Parmesan cheese
s&p to taste

I pulled this picture off of Blue Water's Facebook page.
This is from our class.
And would you look?
 There's Rosie!!!
(Back row.  Far left.  Behind the lady in red.)
And Mr. Hawthorne is to my right,
off the grid, so to speak.

The Hawthornes always sit in the back,
far right side of the table,
and there's a reason for this.
It's my strategy and it worked like a charm this time.

When the chefs started serving,
they brought two platters of oysters -
one to the front, left side of the table
and one to the back. left side of the table.
All the participants took one oyster of the platter
and then passed the platter to their right.
The person at the front table far right passed
the platter to the back table.
what happened was that both oyster platters
Naturally, being me,
I didn't pass the platters on to anyone,
so I ate about a dozen or so oysters.
Like I said, it worked like a charm!
Rosie is nothing if not resourceful.

Of course,
after class, I had to go speak to the animals.

The turtles are always happy to see me!

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Hawthornes Attend Another Seafood Series Cooking Class At The NC Aquarium.

Welcome again to the NC Aquarium in Manteo.
The Hawthornes are attending another
cooking class in their ongoing seafood series.

First, I must say hello to all the critters.
Hello, critters!

Today's class is presented by Chef Jason Jordan

We started off with shrimp ceviche.


Shrimp Ceviche

Yield:  2 qts.

1 lb shrimp 26/30 count, chopped
2 lbs Roma tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 oz. fresh cilantro, chopped
8 limes, juiced
1/2 oz. kosher salt
1 jalapeno, minced

Mix all together and let sit for a few hours
so the shrimp will "cook" in the citrus juice.

Next is shrimp and grits.

Shrimp and Grits
1 dozen shrimp
2 oz. diced tomatoes
2 oz. sliced red onion
1 1/2 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 oz. minced garlic
3/4 oz. Tabasco sauce
5 oz. jalapeno cheddar grits
4 oz. chablis
1 oz seafood seasoning
andouille sausage, sliced

For the grits, figure on a 4:1 ratio of water to grits.
I believe Chef Jordan used 11 cups water, 
1 cup heavy cream,
1 jalapeno,
and a pound of cheddar.

Sauté onion in a little olive oil,
then add in tomato and garlic.
Add shrimp.
Deglaze pan with wine and Tabasco.
Boil and reduce.
Add andouille sausage and butter.
Garnish with parsley.

Happy with my lunch,
I checked out the new exhibits.

I want a blue jellyfish room in my house.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Hawthornes Attend The Seafood Series At NC Aquarium.

Once again, the Hawthornes are back at the NC Aquarium
for their ongoing seafood series and cooking classes.

Today, Johanna and Justin Lachine of  Café Lachine 
are presenting the class.

 Lionfish, a non-indigenous species here,
is being featured again.
If you might recall,
Chef Andy Montero, of Montero's in Elizabeth City,
presented a class last November on lionfish.

The Aquarium's dive team went out to shipwrecks
off Hatteras Inlet and returned with their bounty - lionfish.
You can read all about the lionfish by clicking on the above link.

The lionfish are collected with pole spears
and then placed into sealed containers
to protect the divers from the venomous spines.

Here, Diver Shawn, displays a lionfish.
As I said, the lionfish is not native to Atlantic waters.
They are native to the Indo-Pacific area.

Lionfish in the Atlantic are voracious predators 
at the top of the food chain. 
They are an invasive species,
threatening native fish communities and fisheries resources,
disrupting the biodiversity of the reef and the marine ecosystem process.
The lionfish is a formidable, effective predator.
It is not a selective feeder,
meaning it will eat anything it can fit in its mouth,
including juvenile fish,
thus decimating many of the local populations.
By eating juvenile fish, 
the lionfish are diminishing populations of larger fish
who compete for the same prey.
Lionfish are also highly adaptable,
able to inhabit pretty much all marine habitat type.
They are found in coral reefs, mangroves, artificial reefs,
and grass sea beds.
They are also  able to survive at various depths
 by their great range of temperature tolerance.
The only known predators of the lionfish
are grouper and shark. 

Their breeding habits also affect the difficulty to control the population.
Lionfish have a 30-year life span and a high fecundity rate,
reproducing at an early age and producing
around 2 million babies a year.

There are no fishing regulations on size or limit.
The Atlantic lionfish population can be genetically narrowed down 
to ten fish released by aquarium hobbyists in Florida
during Hurricane Andrew.

Efforts are being made to control the lionfish population.
Lionfish "derbies" are held,
essentially fishing competitions,
 to catch as many lionfish as possible in a set period of time, 
with prizes awarded to teams for the biggest fish and the most caught.
The derbies, sponsored by REEF,
the Reef Environmental Education Foundation,
(an organization devoted to ocean conservation)
are trying to create media exposure so more people 
can be made aware of the growing problem of
the "invasion of the lionfish."
Hopefully, local restaurants will jump on the lionfish bandwagon,
and will offer this fish on their menus
and introduce it to consumers.
In order to do this,
seafood initiatives need to be developed
to compliment fishing efforts and make lionfishing more profitable.
Both restaurants and consumers need to be educated
for this to become feasible.

Chefs Johanna and Justin Lachine
begin preparations for our meal.

Our first course is lionfish with
rutabaga, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and pecans.
Note:  Any white, flaky fish could be subbed for the lionfish.
Flounder or grouper would work just as well.

Lionfish  4 5-oz. fillets
1/2 cup pancetta, crisped, fat reserved
red onion, small dice
carrot, small dice
1 cup brussels sprouts, blanched and halved
1 cup rutabaga, medium dice, blanched
1 cup butternut squash, medium dice
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup green grapes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tble rosemary
1/2 cup butter, chilled, cubed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup sliced green onion

Season fillets with 2 parts kosher salt and 1 part each pepper and granulated garlic.
Sear fillets in rendered pancetta fat.
Remove and set aside.
In same pan, add onion and carrot and lightly sauté.
Add brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and rutabaga
and cook about 2 minutes.
Add pecans, grapes, stock, paprika, chili powder, and rosemary
and reduce by half.
Add butter, parsley, pancetta, and chives.
Reduce slightly until butter is incorporated
and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide among plates
and top each with seared lionfish fillet.

This dish would be a great fall/winter dish
even without the fish.
The chefs are always ready
to answer our questions
and offer advice.

Next up was the Lachines' version
of Oysters Rockefeller.

Nobody knows the original Oysters Rockefeller
from Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.
It is a closely-guarded secret 
and it is said that Jules Alciatore, Antoine's proprietor and chef,
exacted a deathbed promise that the recipe ingredients 
and proportions remain a secret.
However, the "recipe" has evolved
 and has been adapted and imitated
throughout the years
in a myriad of ways.
Personally, I like 'em all.

Oysters "Rockefeller" with Creamed Spinach
36 oysters, cleaned and shucked
 Make Béchamel Sauce:
2 cups whole milk
3 TB flour
3 TB butter
white pepper
1 lb blanched, dried spinach chopped
finely diced white onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, and cook 4-5 minutes.
Slowly add milk, salt and pepper to taste.  
Add sauce to chopped dried spinach.  Set aside.

Make Hollandaise Sauce:
1 lb melted clarified butter
5 egg yolks
1 TB hot sauce
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
3 TB lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
Add all ingredients except butter to a blender.
With blender on high,
slowly drizzle in the butter until combined and creamy.

To plate, top shucked oysters with creamed spinach
and bake at 400° for 5-7 minutes.
Finish with hollandaise and chopped bacon.

Our last dish was a creamy pasta with shrimp and scallops.
Creamy Seafood Pasta
 2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/2 cup caramelized onion
parsley and chives for garnish
4 cups cooked pasta
12 scallops
12 shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Heat heavy cream in large sauté pan over medium heat.
Add parmesan cheese and stir to blend.
Stir in bacon and caramelized onions.
Keep warm while you prepare the seafood.
Heat another large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add 3 TB oil and scallops and shrimp.
Cook about 1 1/2 minutes each side.
Turn off heat.
Add pasta to sauce.
Place in serving bowls and top with seafood, herbs, and Parmesan.

 This was plate-lickin' good!

Fortified by delicious food,
I always like to take a stroll through the aquarium.
The turtles are always happy to see me.

The alligators gave me the eye.

And the otters ottered.

Stay tuned for our next class in the seafood series -
Chef Jason Jordan from Black Pelican.